Valley of the smells

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Broken PlanterI’d like to think I’m a good housekeeper. When we’re home, I spend a lot of time cleaning the old farmhouse — it seems to have a different idea of what “clean” is than me. The farmhouse prefers to have cobwebs and dust on the shelves, and doesn’t mind having cat hair on the floor at all. I have waged a five-year battle against cobwebs, and judging from the size of the dust bunnies under our couch, I’m currently losing. As a matter of fact, we don’t just have dust bunnies, we have an entire ecosystem, starting with dust-ants and going all the way up the chain to dust-elephants. I sustained a grave toe-stubbing injury running around the side of the bed last time we were home, and I’m pretty sure it was actually a dust-gorilla bite.

Keeping the truck clean is a lot easier, as there are approximately 2,000 square feet less space and no bathrooms. George is a really fastidious person. He’s got a place for everything and keeps his gear stowed where it belongs. I try to keep my stuff stowed, but I have this unfortunate habit of finding neat little hidey holes to put my things in, and then forgetting where the neat little hidey hole is. I once spent an entire ten-day trip searching for a brush I had ingeniously velcroed to the top of the cabinet, so I wouldn’t lose it.

Last time we were in Vegas, we parked the truck and stayed with friends for the weekend. Being that the median temperature in Vegas is “hotter than the three circles of hell,” we cleaned the cooler out and made sure all the melty stuff was either consumed or with us, so we wouldn’t come back to a mess in the truck. After 48 hours of debauchery on the strip, we returned to our home on wheels, happy and tired, and ready to get a good night’s sleep so we could hit the road the next day. George opened the door and climbed up to start the engine.

“What’s that smell?”

As I’ve mentioned before, I am apparently the smell police in our relationship. I’m asked to smell and approve of smells on a regular basis. I was immediately suspicious, as the smells I’m asked to comment on are rarely good.

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“What smell…oh my God. What the hell is it?”

“Shhh. Listen. You hear it?”

I refrained from gagging long enough to catch the high-pitched whistle. I followed the noise to probably the scariest thing I have ever personally witnessed in my life. During my mass clean of the cooler, I had inadvertently left a cup of yogurt tucked between the cooler and the bunk. I had meant to eat it, but forgot, and left the stupid thing sitting in the ten thousand degree heat for forty eight hours. The foil on top had swollen to a whisper-thin bubble, and the foul decomp gasses were escaping from a tiny tear, cause by the pressure on the foil.


We fell out of the truck like drunk people, but no one noticed, because this was Vegas.

“Call the bomb squad! We can’t handle this ourselves!”

“Shut up! Don’t scream bomb squad in a crowded parking lot!”

“Babe, we’re in Vegas. No one pays attention to anything for more than two seconds.”

“Go get some bags, I’m going to start the truck.”

“You’re a brave man. I love you. Why do we need bags?”

“Because you’re going to cover it with a bag and remove it from the truck.”

“I’m doing the extraction? I haven’t been trained properly. I don’t even have a vest.”

I considered a continued explanation of my failings as a bomb squad trainee, but the look on his face stopped me. This was serious, as our entire world could be covered in rotting yogurt if the thing blew up. (Which is kind of redundant, because yogurt is technically already rotting when you eat it. Never mind.)

“Please. Go. Get. Bags.”

Turns out, George is a super-smart guy, because about a half-second after I covered the thing with a bag and picked it up to move it, KABLOOIE. The tin foil top gave way, and a giant cloud of gross filled the bag. I disposed of the biological hazard, and of course, no one noticed, because Vegas. Live and learn, and remember, what rots in Vegas, stays in Vegas.


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